An ‘injunction’ is a court order that requires a party to do something or refrain from doing something. Failing to comply with an injunction can result in criminal or civil penalties, which can result in serving an imprisonment sentence.
A parent is entitled to seek an injunction from the Family Court to prevent their child from being taken out of the State or overseas by the other parent. It is often the case that evidence will need to be satisfied to the extent that the parent who is taking the child has no plans of returning.
Indicators that a parent is planning to relocate their child
The following could be used as evidence to demonstrate that a parent is planning to permanently take a child out of the State or overseas:
- if one-way tickets have been purchased by the other parent for travel to another State or overseas;
- if one parent is planning a holiday and travel arrangement details are being withheld from the other parent;
- if one parent has indicated that they have no plans of returning through their actions, such as selling their house, moving belongings into storage or giving up a lease;
- if one parent has friends and family at the destination or previously inquired about jobs; or
- if one parent is travelling to a country that is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Abduction of Children so you will not be able to get them back from that country with the help of the Australian Government.
Requirements for taking a child overseas
In order to be able to take children overseas parents must obtain a valid passport for the children. If the child doesn’t already have a passport but the other parent is trying to obtain one, you need to seek permission from the other parent to obtain the passport. If for whatever reason, either parent is not content for the child obtaining a passport, the other parent may apply to the Family Court for an order that a passport be issued for your child.
A solicitor can assist with putting forward your best case to the Court if there is a real risk the other parent is taking the child interstate or overseas without plans to return. The Court has the power to make orders that may include to:
- prevent or restrain the parent from taking the child interstate or out of Australia;
- require the parent to pay an amount of money to the Court as security for the return of the child;
- direct the parent to give contact details including where the child will be staying and so on; or
- place the child’s name on the airport watch list to prevent the other parent from leaving the country with the child.
For an injunction to take effect, a copy of the order and any other documents you filed at the Court must be given to the parent (or persons) involved.
If an injunction is breached by a parent there are a number of things the Court can do to the party in breach. These include:
- paying a fine;
- paying a bond to the Court;
- ordering that they provide you with make-up time with your child;
- ordering them to attend a parenting course;
- changing any existing Court orders;
- enforcing a prison sentence.
If you would like more information on how we can advise you on Family Law matter, do not hesitate to contact us on 9963 9800 or via our contact form here.